The third consultation on building a global community of practice for participatory local democracy will be held in New Delhi during the week of January 7, 2013. The consultation will be convened by the Institute of Social Sciences, with assistance from The Hunger Project-India, a team of graduate students from George Washington University and support from the UN Democracy Fund.
We are particularly pleased to be holding this consultation in India, given the country’s long engagement with participatory local democracy. At the time of the Freedom Movement, Mahatma Gandhi envisioned the future of India as an ocean of “Little Republics” — autonomous village-level local bodies known as panchayats.
In 1993, his vision was integrated into India’s constitution, in the 73rd and 74th amendments. These amendments also guaranteed that at least 1/3 of all seats and presidencies would be reserved for women, and that seats would also be reserved on a proportional basis, for marginalized groups (scheduled castes and tribes).
As a federal system, the states of India have the ultimate responsibility for implementing decentralization today — which has been achieved with varied levels of success across the country.
If you have suggestions or would like more information about the New Delhi consultation, please contact us.